Monday, January 2, 2012


I mentioned sometime ago that I was starting this new rather challanging project on Shakespeare and its characters as an excuse to portray my good friend GP. It's finally done and it took a while because I got stuck several times and almost lost while dealing with the smoke.

I don't really haveWIP pictures because I worked mostly in the evenings of very very busy days and there never was a good time or the proper light to take decent photographs.

However I can tell you that I worked character by character, starting with the lady Macbeth (does dhe look mean enough for you to recognize her? ;)). The most difficult part there was the tartan shawl, which I had to research quite a bit.

I then moved to Romeo and Juliet. I am rather happy with Romeo, but Juliet came out very different from how I imagined me she looks older than she should (Romeo has seduced her Granny by mistake) and her nightgown is definitely too blue (should have been white with bluish shadows)...oh well.

Hamlet is ok, I think...I referenced the costume Laurence Olivier wore in the 1948 movie here.

Next, I worked on Titania, which was pretty easy...I am used to draw fairies, so their queen was not too bad.

I dedided to skip Bottom for a while and to tackle Othello (my favorite), whose dark skin was of some concern to me, as I am not used to render it with markers. On the internet people recommended using the Chamois Copic as a base. I follow this recommendation and used Champagne and a varieties of blues (B91, especially) and blue-violets/greys for shadows and adjustments...

Then I worked on the flaming head of Ariel without too much trouble, fortunately.

Finally I went back to Bottom and added King Lear (right) and Falstaff on the left as figures emerging from the smoke and therefore not fully colored.

By my friend Shakespeare-illus, you can see a small version of Melpomene, the muse of Tragedy giving a few reccomendations (clearly he is not writing something funny at the moment).

The last character I painted was of course the protagonist. His shirt worried me a lot (folds and more folds)and so was the risk of altering his features by coloring the outlines (usually the opposite should happen, but you never know, also because the light source in the drawing was very different from the one of my reference picture).

At this point the hardest part, the background begun. In reality the window and the wall were pretty straight forward, but I knew I was running into troubles with the smoke. First I made it sickly pink, then I added B91 which unfortunately made it sort of uninteresting and flat. So i started adding grey shadows and colored highlights that picked up from the characters' outfits (for example, green from Lady Macbeth's dress, yellowish from Romeo's goden tunic, red from Othello's crimson cloak). Then I kept blending and adding depth with more Blue violets...until I thought a nice grey-green would work well in the mix. As often happens I was working in front of the TV and the light was dim, too dim as I realized next morning. I actually added to much green and the smoke coming from Shakespeare-illus' pen instead of appearing mysterious and intriguing looked rather toxic and stinky. Ooops. I spent quite a while trying to cover up this "minor" error (and I did not completely succeed in this, as you can see...sigh!).
Lesson learned: always use the brightest light while coloring, no matter how good the movie is! ;)
That's all I can tell you on the process...

This is the final version:

I look forward to see the reaction of my friend, who most definitely is not expecting this....;)

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